EDITORIAL: Kiosk kudos

The Mississippi Department of Public Safety took a good first step last week toward greater convenience and efficiency for motorists.
Public Safety Director Steve Simpson unveiled the new kiosks to be installed this week at seven driver’s license stations in Mississippi, including Tupelo’s, that will speed up license renewal. Rather than wait in line for a department employee to process the renewal and take a photo, drivers instead can do it themselves.
As Simpson said, anyone who has used an ATM – or any other touch-screen device – should have no problem with the driver’s license kiosk.
You’ll just slide your current license in a slot and the machine will be able to match your face with the one on the card, take a new picture and – after taking a credit card – print out a temporary license to use until the new one arrives in the mail a few days later. Security will protect the personal information required to be entered, Simpson said. The whole process can be completed in “a couple of minutes.”
The state won’t own the machines because it can’t afford them at this point. Instead, they’ll be leased from a company called L-1 Identity Solutions, which will collect a $3 fee on top of the regular state $21 licensing renewal fee drivers are obligated to pay every four years. The hope is one day for the state to own the machines, Simpson said.
We hope, too, that in addition to having the machines in driver’s license bureaus, the department will expedite their availability in gathering places like shopping malls, courthouses, or other public buildings. Having a speedier way to complete the renewal transaction at the normal driver’s license bureau is an improvement, but having kiosks in places where people already go will enhance the convenience by eliminating an extra trip.
Simpson says he hopes to have at least 100 of the kiosks spread around the state by the end of next year. He said the initiative is a result of Gov. Haley Barbour’s insistence when Simpson took the job that he make renewal of driver’s licenses more convenient, eliminating as far as possible the necessity to wait in long lines.
Mississippi will be the first state to use this technology for driver’s license renewals. It’s nice to see the state out front on this kind of service for taxpayers.
We live in a convenience society. Government has sometimes been behind the curve in making its services more user-friendly and time-efficient.
Kudos for the kiosks to Simpson and his department.

NEMS Daily Journal